Corona Undermines the Examination System

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Corona Undermines the Examination System and I am quite happy. I am happy that the kids are just getting promoted with ease. I am certainly hopeful that the pandemic gets over soon and we are back to a safe 'normal'. But the NEXT NORMAL will not be as we have lived it during the corona age.

Before you read ahead, open your laughing-buds and see this excellent video: 

(Video Credits: AiyyoShraddha)

It is laugh-worthy to see children rejoicing and political leaders saying that the decision has been taken for the sake of the safety of millions of children. In this credit-seeking game, the students are trapped in the wrong cage. Can there be a right cage as well! Well, there can be if you are in the company of someone and something sensible enough to make you see the rationality in things around. Let us try to see what it means and what we need to read in these cancellations of exams during the last 02 years.

The fear of exams is over, or at least cut to half now. We do have a meme-fest on the CBSE exams where we can certainly mock the exams by saying that there was a time when students used to find it tough to appear in board exams - and now the situation is that the CBSE exams are finding it really tough to APPEAR. Is this all we see in the cancellations? Nope! What I have seen and felt is stated in the random explanations shared below. I congratulate those who feel education has been just about going to school crossing over to a new grade and then finally get 'passed' this way to enter into the fascinating-glamourous-happening and independent life of higher education! You are moving to a real tough zone, dear!

The central idea of my insistence and this blog is on what basis we shall be able to identify the BEST students? The authenticity of results shall be intact but we know no one is going to win the rat race, as there is no race happening. Still, I wish to see who can be ranked as the best learners - for that, I shall be analysing their human skills i.e. Communication Skills, Creativity, Critical Thinking and Collaboration Skills. There is no CGPA for them to score here but the world that we have now is demanding these core skills. One could score 99% in the exams, but in the absence of these virtues, no one cares what you have in the paper.

The world has changed drastically over the years. Those who used to get trained and tamed in the classrooms are totally at the mercy of online learning. Teachers and educational institutions are doing a real service to humanity by keeping the educational process active. The interaction and initiatives are actually the good things happening. I believe that we could not afford to abandon a whole generation just because there was a lockdown. It was not just the kids, they had families engaged with their routines. So the classrooms shifted to the virtual model. The misunderstanding between online and virtual has been a harmful one for the students. If they took it as something which was just done for the sake of doing, they seriously misunderstood the whole phenomenon. It has been 'Virtual' teaching -  that means, only the medium is virtual not concrete, but dear, the process of teaching is implemented by real human beings. Anyway, that is a different thing to debate about.

The pandemic confirmed one slogan for life on earth now - Survival of the Fittest!. If you think, that is not true, look for the people or images around you and you will realise that has been true. The fitness can be of health, resources, support system or your political connections. The ones who are in good health ( I wish they remain so) have some reason behind that in the form of their immunity. Our immunity depends on our mental health as it does on physical health. But, we seem to ignore thinking and introspecting. I wish the teenagers are brought face-to-face with the 'PUB-G' of Life and Career. They need to engage in a serious talk before it is too late for them to survive with their career aspirations. 

How this relates to the discussion about CBSE exams and our learning? The answer is hidden and we can unearth it by looking at what comes next. These kids will get marks based on the criteria that the board shares. In any case, they are going to pass the examinations. Many of them will pass with flying colours. Their percentile or the CGPA shall be on the 09th planet for sure. As schools will have the responsibility to prepare grades, the consideration will be based on how the student has done so far. yes SO FAR - but we never thought that the journey was as important as the destination is. And in our case, the destination - the peak of pressure - the might CBSE exams are not able to happen. How many children have been doing their best in the school activities? If all, that's great - if not, they should have seen that everything counts in learning. 

Now we can see that what happens at school, in classes and in internal assessments has a role to play. Hopefully, this pandemic gets over and we do not get any such devil again, but who knows, when will this thing be over? Hence, we can learn this lesson of participation in school-based assessments.

The other factor that shall work for the evaluation is not an official one but significant. The relations and the rapport one has with the teachers. This does not make the educators feel like owners or a superior race but it speaks of what they deserve. If a student is on the list of appreciated kids for a teacher, the 'context and consideration' works well in such times. We are not recommending any flattery or corruption, because we believe that respect can be commanded, not demanded. But, for a student, respecting the teachers is something that remains unquestionable. Sadly, students have avoided this life skill of forming bonds, and now they shall see that people skills are the best life skills.

The most crucial takeaway from these cancellations of exams in these 02 years is here. The students will move to their graduation soon. Now, the real scrutiny shall happen. Almost everyone will pass the exams. In the case of the 12th grade, they are done with their school education now. The degrees they will pursue are for a career and specialisations. Everyone, they will meet, shall come from the same pandemic-stricken world. The pride that used to come with ranking in the city or the state or the national level shall not be a thing to boast about. No one will buy this topper rank anymore. What will work for them then? What will make them look distinct and impressive? What will get them a preference in the classrooms of HigherEd? Their Communication Skills. I have been an advocate of sincere Communication Skills during the school education itself. Now the times have come that it is not at all marks and rankings that matter. The way we speak and present our learning is the new touchstone to check someone.

Employers shall also do the same thing. We must acknowledge the fact that the make-over of life has happened in careers and employment as well. When they know that you did not have the chance to appear in those 'standard-proctored-nationally organised examinations of CBSE, why would they crave to see your marks card? The magical card will be your soft skills, communicative competence and common sense. The examination did not happen for you in your X or XII or XII, that does not mean life has become easy. It is rather a complicated world now where you will perish if unprepared. Rude it sounds, but true it is.

When we get trained in theatre skills, we are taught to use SPACE with utmost perfection. Making the best of everything in hand is what a good actor does. We are all actors on this stage of life. When we see the school children doing very little to acknowledge that they are indeed the masters of their own actions, it hurts. It instils some weird tension as well. At a time when they need to look at their own future, they are busy with what is a weak present. The blame, as I feel, is on the teachers and parents. Of course, parents can not rescue themselves anymore. A child remains with them, more than he does at a school (referring to the pandemic, there are home-schools!). We all need to work sincerely to learn how we can make the best of our togetherness and commonness of purpose.

The call-to-action is here:

  • Let us not misjudge the need of the hour as an opportunity or a divine intervention that has rescued us from education.
  • Interestingly, this was not the last examination one has to appear in, so if you wish to learn something from this, learn that you need to fear exams and go mad about just the Board-Board-Board obsession.
  • The continuous assessment and your participation in extra-curricular activities shall be given utmost importance
  • The teenagers must wake up and see that the world shall not shy even for a second to throw them out of the game - if they are not prepared to perform - better to start as early as possible.
  • Rejoice not because you could pass the tough board exams, but because there are people who considered safety as a primary thing.
  • Remember that the actual thing is a CAREER, not a CBSE mark sheet that you are studying for and a career is made by competence, not a tiny cancellation.
  • Leverage the happiness and 'saved' energy to make your peers, juniors aware that there is nothing to fear about exams if you can participate in the whole process of learning.
  • Do not forget to respect those who assist you in your studies - parents, teachers and everyone you see as support.
  • Have Good friends who shall bring prosperity to life, learning - not the ones who escape from life.

Be Happy!

About the Author
Author: Parveen Sharma
'You Create Yourself' is the belief that drives the EklavyaParv Life Long Learning Mission. The trilogy of Enhance-Empower-Encourage motivates us and we share learning contents on Communication Skills, EdTech, Life Skills, Blended & Innovative Learning and Insights about Education. These resources are Open Educational Resources (OERs) under CC-BY-NC-SA licence. Parveen is an EdTech Evangelist and has been working in the field of Innovation-driven Education for more than a decade. He writes and delivers training on EduSoMedia, E-Learning, OERs, MOOCs, EdTech, ICT, Blended and Flipped Learning, Academic Intervention, Classroom Makeover, Employability Enhancement, EdTech and Teacher-Student Learning. EklavyaParv is the celebration of his belief in the Learning Spirit of Mankind!

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